Past Paper Questions
‘What really counts in Renaissance drama is not virtue, but virtuosity.’ Discuss.
‘Wherever Renaissance dramas are set, they are concerned primarily with the London in which they were staged.’ To what extent do you agree with this proposition?
‘Renaissance drama seeks to frustrate rather than appease the audience’s desire for resolution.’ Do Renaissance plays resist satisfactory closure? If so, to what effect?
‘Renaissance dramatists do not only think through words: they think through stagecraft— props, music, costumes, spectacle, and the manipulation of stage spaces.’ Explore the uses of stagecraft in Renaissance plays.
‘Form does not merely affect meaning in Renaissance poetry; frequently, it effects meaning.’ Discuss the relationship between form and content in Renaissance poetry.
‘In Renaissance love poetry the male lover is often passive, servile, and disempowered by his desire.’ Discuss.
‘Religious poetry presses against the limitations of human language’. Discuss.
‘Panegyric and satire seek to appeal to common virtues by summoning up their opposite vices.’ Discuss. (You may limit yourself to either panegyric or satire, or consider both.)
In what respects do unruly bodies and bodily desires pose a threat to social or political order in any of the texts that you have read
‘All our life is but a going out to the place of execution, to death’ (Donne). Discuss the ways in which any two writers on the module confront the fact of death. (You may consider drama as well as poetry.)
‘Teach me, my God and King, / In all things thee to see’ (Herbert). In what ways might Herbert’s words be seen as a manifesto for the religious writer in the Renaissance?
‘To eye those parts which no eye should behold’ (Marlowe, Hero and Leander). In Renaissance literature, to what extent is desire inseparable from a sense of transgression?
Debate the proposition that ‘The function of Renaissance imagery is as an aid to the art of persuasion’.
To what extent is heroism gendered in Renaissance literature?
‘However much we try to understand Renaissance literature in the cultural terms of its own period, we cannot ignore our position as modern readers.’ Consider the implications of this statement for your…